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Raising Financially Fit Kids Paperback – December 5, 2003
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Money, a powerful factor in family dynamics, is often a difficult subject for families to address. Godfrey aims to help parents send their children into the world as financially savvy adults by identifying 10 specific skills that can be mastered by children ages 5 through 18. These include saving, keeping track of money, spending wisely, living on a budget, investing, handling credit responsibly, and using money to help others. Godfrey contends that her advice is for parents of every income level because the same financial issues confront those with means as confront those with few resources, regardless of race, class, culture, or political orientation. While this book conveniently doubles as an infomercial for her consulting practice, it does offer valuable insight into an important subject. Mary Whaley
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“I want to commend you on the Raising Financially Fit Kids newsletter. Each issue is informative. Thanks for the time and energy you put into it.”
—R. Quirk, Federal Reserve Bank
“I look forward to this every month and find it useful already with my five-year-old.”
—Toodi Gunter, Columnist, Business Week
“Once again Joline Godfrey sets the standard on the financial literacy front. All the tips today’s parents need are within this richly packed volume: Joline offers up age-appropriate lessons for each stage of a young person’s financial journey. No one does it better.”
—Whitney Ransome and Meg Milne Moulton, Executive Directors, National Coalition of Girls’ Schools
“Financial literacy is listed in Faith Popcorn’s Dictionary of the Future as a service being offered by a growing number of investment firms for their clients. Godfrey’s book gives us yet another terrific tool with which to support the needs of our clients.”
—Carol Malnick, Partner, Nelson Capital
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There are some helpful ideas to teach your kids financial concepts in this book, the Sample Lifestyle Budget she provides is excellent. The proposed scavenger hunt to the mall idea is horrifying. Ms Godfrey proclaims that "shopping is entertainment." Whaaat? This is exactly what I'm trying NOT to encourage in my children. Later in the book she says that yoga is helpful in calming the high you get from shopping- also she recommends meditation, exercise and a cup of tea. Really?
I bought this book because I wanted to know how and when to explain this stuff to to my 7 year old who, just last week when told that a price of an item was too much, told me I should just write a check for it. There is no help in here for explaining the mechanics of a checking account to a 7 year old. Also no discussion of living beneath your means, what a 401-K is, the benefits of saving early vs late, how much you should be saving, what social security is, taxes, an explanation of what stocks and bonds are, etc. While there was an explanation of using credit cards, there was not much in the way of showing kids how easily you can get into trouble with debt or how to calculate the cost of debt.
I didn't get much financial training from my parents and neither did my husband, so we don't know how or when to discuss it with our kids. We both learned it the hard way and with self-education, but would like to spare our children the mistakes we made. Not much help from this book- we will figure it out as we go I guess.
There is a clear liberal slant to this book. If the information had been good that would have been irrelevant to me, however some readers may object to the suggestions of steering your children towards green and impact investing, low impact living, becoming activists, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, etc. For example, the book suggests that you sign up for an investing newsletter to help your child understand investments which is a great idea. The newsletter it recommends is a green investing newsletter instead of Kiplinger's. I guess what I object to is that the book doesn't try to teach financial concepts like how to evaluate stocks, it tries to promote a values-based way of addressing money. It would have been easy to address this in a non-partisan way, since financial concepts, like pay yourself first, compound interest, debt- are all politically neutral.
On another note, the book is very well designed and visually engaging, which as a designer myself, I definitely appreciate.
The creative ideas along with the education of how to do this right and a game plan by age and stages, make this one of the best financial parenting books out there. Working with parents to develop financial parenting plans, I have been using the original version of this book for a decade and have found it invaluable. This updated version takes it to the next level. Joline's life work is financial education; her years of experience and wisdom shine through with the ideas in the book. There are tons of financial parenting books on the market, and having read most of them, I have found this to be one of the very best.
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